Thursday, May 17, 2012

The (REAL) Hunger Games

Picture this scenario: Its mid-morning. Breakfast is a memory, but lunch is not quite in sight yet, and you get that first pang of hunger. Shortly after, that pang turns into a full-on GRUMBLE. What to do? Grab a handful of pretzels? Sneak a cookie (or 3, cuz really, who eats ONE tiny cookie)? Rummage through the office kitchen in hopes of finding a package of rogue saltine crackers, candy, or anything else edible? WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. (PS- i only know these options because I've done them ALL myself, way too often in the past.)

There are a few different ways to fight this common dilemma. Call it trickery of the mind, tomfoolery even, but it works. And it's much healthier than all the empty calories undoubtedly consumed with past solutions.

  • Drink, Drink, Drink! Water that is. Drink a full 16.9oz bottle of water. Not the most exciting method in the world. But hey, statistics show that you're most likely not drinking enough to keep your body properly hydrated anyway, and its filling that void in your tummy.

  • Water not doing it for ya? Have a mug of herbal tea. Green tea is LOADED with antioxidants. It's also naturally caffeinated. However, it doesn't give you that anxious, jittery feeling that coffee is famous for. Caffeine has been known as an active appetite suppressant. Mint tea is another great option. Mint has long been known to soothe the stomach, aid in bloating, and suppress the appetite. Ask the Moroccans. They've been drinking mint tea after meals for centuries. (after-dinner mint ring a bell?) 

  • Chew on a piece of gum, cinnamon or mint preferably. Cinnamon, like mint, has been said to possess the same appetite suppressing properties. Also, the chewing sensation tricks your brain into thinking you are eating something substantial.
  • STILL hungry? Try a small handful of almonds (10 almonds is 1/2 a suggested serving, and only 70 calories). They are rich in protein and mono-saturated fatty acids, which are both great for you, and great for keeping you fuller, longer. Also, make sure you CHEW, CHEW, CHEW! The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states, "that chewing may play a more complex role in the digestion process, impacting nutrient absorption, and feelings of satiety or fullness.

In order to avoid this situation all together, you should really take a good, hard look at your diet & eating habits. What's a typical breakfast for you? I can tell you what a typical breakfast SHOULD be for you. One that's high in protein and fiber. These both keep you feeling satiated and give you the energy you need to keep you going until lunch time hits. My weekday go-to breakfast? Plain (you wont miss the sugar/carbs for long, I promise) Greek non-fat/ low-fat yogurt (Fage 2% total plain yogurt is my FAVE), cut up berries & 1/4 cup of your favorite bran cereal (All Bran, the O.G. of bran cereals; give it a try, you will be delightfully surprised). Coming in at 215 calories & almost HALF of your daily requirement of fiber + tons of protein, it's a smart choice to get your day started the healthy way!

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